Malthusian Myth Busting: Easter Island Edition

Guest “Why bust Malthusian Myths? Because it’s fun and easy!” by David Middleton

You know the story…

In just a few centuries, the people of Easter Island wiped out their forest, drove their plants and animals
to extinction, and saw their complex society spiral into chaos and cannibalism. Are we about to follow
their lead?

Jared Diamond, 2005

While it is true that the Easter Islanders deforested their island, forensic historians have now determined that by converting the forest to farmland and innovatively adapting to prolonged Little Ice Age droughts, they avoided collapse.

BingUNews

Resilience, not collapse: What the Easter Island myth gets wrong

By Jennifer Micale
JULY 08, 2021

You probably know this story, or a version of it: On Easter Island, the people cut down every tree, perhaps to make fields for agriculture or to erect giant statues to honor their clans. This foolish decision led to a catastrophic collapse, with only a few thousand remaining to witness the first European boats landing on their remote shores in 1722.

But did the demographic collapse at the core of the Easter Island myth really happen? The answer, according to new research by Binghamton University anthropologists Robert DiNapoli and Carl Lipo, is no.

Their research, “Approximate Bayesian Computation of radiocarbon and paleoenvironmental record shows population resilience on Rapa Nui (Easter Island),” was recently published in the journal Nature Communications. Co-authors include Enrico Crema of the University of Cambridge, Timothy Rieth of the International Archaeological Research Institute and Terry Hunt of the University of Arizona.

Easter Island, or Rapa Nui in the native language, has long been a focus of scholarship into questions related to environmental collapse. But to resolve those questions, researchers first need to reconstruct the island’s population levels to ascertain whether such a collapse occurred and, if so, the scale.

“For Rapa Nui, a big part of scholarly and popular discussion about the island has centered around this idea that there was a demographic collapse, and that it’s correlated in time with climate changes and environmental changes,” explained DiNapoli, a postdoctoral research associate in environmental studies and anthropology.

Sometime after it was settled between the 12th to 13th centuries AD, the once-forested island was denuded of trees; most often, scholars point to human-prompted clearing for agriculture and the introduction of invasive species such as rats. These environmental changes, the argument goes, reduced the island’s carrying capacity and led to a demographic decline.

Additionally, around the year 1500, there was a climactic shift in the Southern Oscillation index; that shift led to a dryer climate on Rapa Nui.

[…]

In short, there is no evidence that the islanders used the now-vanished palm trees for food, a key point of many collapse myths. Current research shows that deforestation was prolonged and didn’t result in catastrophic erosion; the trees were ultimately replaced by gardens mulched with stone that increased agricultural productivity. During times of drought, the people may have relied on freshwater coastal seeps.

Construction of the moai statues, considered by some to be a contributing factor of collapse, actually continued even after European arrival.

In short, the island never had more than a few thousand people prior to European contact, and their numbers were increasing rather than dwindling, their research shows.

“Those resilience strategies were very successful, despite the fact that the climate got drier,” Lipo said. “They are a really good case for resiliency and sustainability.”

Burying the myth

Why, then, does the popular narrative of Easter Island’s collapse persist? It likely has less to do with the ancient Rapa Nui people than ourselves, Lipo explained.

The concept that changes in the environment affect human populations began to take off in the 1960s, Lipo said. Over time, that focus became more intense, as researchers began to consider changes in the environment as a primary driver of cultural shifts and transformations.

But this correlation may derive more from modern concerns with industrialization-driven pollution and climate change, rather than archaeological evidence. Environmental changes, Lipo points out, occur on different time scales and in different magnitudes. How human communities respond to these changes varies.

[…]

Binghamton University

This bit is priceless…

Why, then, does the popular narrative of Easter Island’s collapse persist? It likely has less to do with the ancient Rapa Nui people than ourselves, Lipo explained.

The concept that changes in the environment affect human populations began to take off in the 1960s, Lipo said. Over time, that focus became more intense, as researchers began to consider changes in the environment as a primary driver of cultural shifts and transformations.

But this correlation may derive more from modern concerns with industrialization-driven pollution and climate change, rather than archaeological evidence.

Binghamton University

However future forensic historians (archaeologists & anthropologists) will be right when they determine that our society collapsed because we decimated our reliable and affordable energy infrastructure in order to build a lot of useless statues due to “modern concerns with industrialization-driven pollution and climate change.”

Myth Busting…

The full text of the paper is available… Approximate Bayesian Computation of radiocarbon and paleoenvironmental record shows population resilience on Rapa Nui (Easter Island).

Discussion

When we assess the uncertainties of the Rapa Nui data and those involved in the analytic steps, the current evidence indicates that the island experienced relatively steady population growth from initial human settlement ca. 800 cal BP until the period following European arrival. The “wiggles” in the observed SPD curve all fall within the simulation envelope and result from details of the calibration curve combined with sampling error, and importantly, not genuine paleodemographic signals. Given these facts, we are unable to confidently distinguish between the four hypotheses. All of the fitted models, however, are consistent with a logistic growth pattern only marginally influenced by changes in climate and forest cover. The wide HPDs of the environmental parameters suggest a range of possible positive or negative effects, yet no values appear strong enough to cause major population declines (Fig. 3). Given the comparatively small number of radiocarbon dates, we cannot determine whether our inability to discern between the competing models is the consequence of small sample size, the small ‘effect size’ in models 2–4 (i.e., the absolute deviation of βpalm and βSOI from 0), or a combination of both factors. Nonetheless, none of the fitted models support the notion of pre-contact population collapse (Fig. 3). Therefore, our results suggest that if deforestation or increasing SOI had effects on the island, Rapa Nui populations were resilient to them. These findings are independently supported by recent research showing that monument construction steadily continued even after European arrival57,77. In addition, research now demonstrates that deforestation was a prolonged process, did not result in catastrophic erosion, and that land cover was quickly replaced by lithic mulch gardens that increased agricultural productivity66,67,80,81,82,83,84,85. Moreover, while some claim that deforestation resulted in the loss of food29,68, there is no evidence that palms were a significant dietary resource for islanders66,86. Thus, it is more likely that the loss of the palm forest represented an expansion of cultivation opportunities and positively contributed to the initial growth and overall resilience of the population. In summary, there is no empirical support for the notion that deforestation resulted in strong negative impacts on the human population of Rapa Nui.

Our results also have implications for the effects of climate change on the island. Rull71,73 has recently claimed that climate-induced droughts caused a large-scale societal disruption resulting in the cessation of monument construction and intra-island migration from coastal settlements to the crater lake at Rano Kau. Similar to previous analyses of the tempo of monument construction around the island57, the vast majority of our 14C data derive from coastal settlements and do not show declines in activity or support claims of major climate-induced disruptions from drought. While climate perturbations seem to have led to desiccation of the crater lake at Rano Raraku72, recent research suggests Rapa Nui populations adapted to these changes by relying primarily on coastal groundwater sources87,88,89.

DiNapoli et al., 2021

It turns out that the Malthusian myth of Easter Island’s demographic and ecological collapse was just a bunch of Rapa Hooey!

Reference

DiNapoli, R.J., Crema, E.R., Lipo, C.P. et al. Approximate Bayesian Computation of radiocarbon and paleoenvironmental record shows population resilience on Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Nat Commun 12, 3939 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24252-z

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dk_
July 15, 2021 2:19 am

An undocumented stoneage culture called “sustainable” once again? Still waiting for a sensible, testable definition of sustainable that doesn’t involve noble savage romanticism, periodic starvation, infant mortality greater than 75%, extreme human old age in the 40s, and occasional forays into cannibalism or human sacrifice. Sustainable is Orwellian doubletalk.

Last edited 15 days ago by dk_
Reply to  dk_
July 15, 2021 2:46 am

According to the big bang theory, the Universe is neither sustainable, nor renewable.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2021 3:35 am

But it is enjoyable. With the right mindset, that is.

dk_
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
July 15, 2021 3:58 am

Or chemical enhancement, which is sometimes the same thing.

Red94ViperRT10
Reply to  dk_
July 15, 2021 3:31 pm

“Reality is for those people who can’t handle drugs.” – Random bumper sticker, some 35 years ago.

GUILLERMO SUAREZ
Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
July 15, 2021 7:44 pm

John Tillman
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2021 4:07 am

The fate of the universe can’t yet be known, although the Big Crunch hypothesis has apparently been ruled out, due to accelerating expansion, assuming that is in fact happening.

bonbon
Reply to  John Tillman
July 15, 2021 4:50 am

Roger Penrose has something to say about that – Aeons :
Sir Roger Penrose, Aeons before the Big Bang (Copernicus Center Lecture 2010)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YYWUIxGdl4

Still, without a quantum gravity theory, we are left in the dark, a matter of mind.

whiten
Reply to  John Tillman
July 15, 2021 6:43 am

Common guys,

It is all a subject about a shithole island, a place, a “prison” for “criminals” and lowlifes of that time and place, a fricking “gulag” island.

And you philosophising about universe.

Get a grip “sillies”.

😆

cheers

Last edited 15 days ago by whiten
MarkW
Reply to  whiten
July 15, 2021 1:57 pm

Who are these “common guys” you are talking to?
I prefer to believe that most of the people who post here are extraordinary.

Red94ViperRT10
Reply to  whiten
July 15, 2021 3:34 pm

That would be possible only if there were some civilization “upwind” so that castaways would end up on Rapa Hui. Any candidates? Or is your speculation just another I-want-it-to-be-so the same as the caused-their-own-demise story?

whiten
Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
July 15, 2021 4:03 pm

Incas perhaps…

I am sure you must have heard of.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  whiten
July 15, 2021 3:40 pm

Whiten,
I am guessing you have never been to Rapu Nui. It is an amazing place and shows how impressive the polynesians were both to find the place and settle there.

whiten
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 15, 2021 4:05 pm

Izaak you been there?

whiten
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 16, 2021 9:29 am

Ok Izzak,

Yes, today Rapu Nui may be considered an amazing place for the population living there…
and the tourist or visitors.

But the record shows clearly that that place was a very isolated (and a “dark”) place from the rest of the world, some 3000 km from the closest civilisation, where the strangely large population of that place were only making it by harsh survival means…
with nothing to offer,
and with no any means to leave or travel away,
and with no body from outside visiting or engaging with them in anyway possible till the Europeans arrived from the very other side of the world.

Technically and otherwise no matter how beautiful naturally that place may have been, still to that population then it was a “prison”… offering not much.

And yes the history of that population is amazing, as it shows the amazing persistence to keep going on for centuries, simply by means of survival… as forsaken and forgotten castaways.

Yes the Rapu Nui people and the story of Rapu Nui and their endeavors is impressive, amazing and mesmerising… an incredible feat.

But no way the settlement and settling was voluntary in that far far away place, especially when considering the number of the people there.

Polynesians were no such stupids as to go in so much trouble and expense,
and have themselves ending up stranded in such big numbers, in a very faraway forsaken island.
Besides they were not civilised enough for such a venture, either in the means of necessity or affordability…
with all their impressive seafaring skills.

cheers

MarkW
Reply to  John Tillman
July 15, 2021 8:28 am

I’m not convinced that we have a complete grasp of how gravity works.
I’ve also read a theory that a small portion of the red shift could be the result of interactions between photons and free electrons in inter-galactic space.

John Tillman
Reply to  MarkW
July 15, 2021 8:52 am

I’m not even sure about the seemingly observed acceleration of expansion, despite its 2011 Nobel Prize.

We really don’t understand gravity yet, if we ever will.

beng135
Reply to  John Tillman
July 16, 2021 9:06 am

Or clouds.

ht/ Joni Mitchell (but Judy Collins sang it the best)

Last edited 14 days ago by beng135
DMacKenzie
Reply to  MarkW
July 15, 2021 8:55 am

Or we could be inside the event horizon of a black hole collapsing towards it’s singularity and just don’t realize it because of time dilation…..speculative but nobody can find dark matter….

Mark D
Reply to  DMacKenzie
July 15, 2021 9:40 am

I wonder what I’m having for lunch?
A much more relevant concern in my world at this moment.
Now if the answers led to Warp drive and artificial gravity …

Hawaii guy
Reply to  John Tillman
July 16, 2021 7:27 am

Halton Arp clearly showed time and again, as far as we have observed, we’re in a non expanding steady state universe, and thats all we can know as our ability to see into the universe is miniscule, and computer modeling means nothing. I miss that man!

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
July 16, 2021 11:23 am

Roggeveen’s 1722 log doesn’t reflect societal collapse:

https://www.easterisland.travel/easter-island-facts-and-info/history/ship-logs-and-journals/jacob-roggeveen-1722/

The Rapanui had canoes, if built from scraps of wood, and apparently lots to eat. Burning down the palms seems to have been a rational decision, which diddn’t lead to their society’s collapse.

Rather more likely that contact with the West led to their downfall, via disease and slave raiding. From an estimate two to three thousand early in the 18th century, population appears to have fallen to Cook’s 600 to 700 in 1774. If that didn’t include the presumably hidden 2/3 of women and girls, then perhaps 1000. It’s possible that Spanish sailors had carried off the younger women and older girls in 1770.

But even worse was to come in the 19th century, at the hands of Peruvian slave raiders.

goracle
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2021 5:38 am

too bad the BBT is a lie… more holes than swiss cheese with 95% of “everything” being some unknown mystical dark energy and dark matter because, if it wasn’t, cosmological mathematical equations would not work.

PCman999
Reply to  goracle
July 15, 2021 10:47 am

Dark matter is a problem with gravity not the Big Bang. Dark energy might turn out to be the force behind the Big Bang.

goracle
Reply to  PCman999
July 15, 2021 1:47 pm

keep dreaming pcman…. it’s all models… and just like climate change models change to fit the narrative (not observations), so goes BBT and dark matter/energy, which is inferred to exist to offset observations that dont agree with BBT… so instead of changing the theory, they just make stuff up to fit the narrative.

John Tillman
Reply to  goracle
July 16, 2021 2:59 pm

The conclusion that dark matter must exist isn’t derived from models but from observations.

Reply to  dk_
July 15, 2021 3:48 am

“Sustainable”? As opposed to ‘manageable’ or ‘maintainable’, I can find no example in higher-level writings (executive summaries, think tank pronouncements, policy documents etc), where the term “sustainable” has any meaning other than “can it be put onto the stock market?”

In other words: “Is this worth our while sustaining/feeding/keeping alive this activity/entity using funds that could be invested more profitably elsewhere?”
Now you know why Monsanto’s GMO dreck and factory farming is “sustainable” but organically grown heritage crops outside the stock market is not. Now you now why education has been declared “an unsustainable acivity” (I kid not) while the “educational loan” sytem is very much sustained.
“Sustainable” therefor, must mean: “Is this activity/entity a viable financial vehicle for the disposession of Public and Plebian Properties?”
Doublespeak has grown up a lot since Orwell’s time.

PCman999
Reply to  paranoid goy
July 15, 2021 10:51 am

“Sustainable” is a label for justifying stupid enviro-virtue signalling ideas, that end up frequently doing more harm than good to the environment, but always to people who are forced to pay for those ideas.

Joao Martins
Reply to  dk_
July 15, 2021 6:45 am

I agree.

I must read the original paper first, it seems to be very interesting: it seems that the authors understood a very simple fact ungraspable by the green nostalgic of the paleolithic way of life: replacing the forest of a region by agricultural crops actually increases (does NOT decrease!) the carrying capacity of that region.

PCman999
Reply to  Joao Martins
July 15, 2021 10:54 am

But increasing the carrying capacity for humans is a negative for enviro-woke. For them better an isolated island with a handful of birds and bugs than a home for hundreds of families. In a way, Big Green = Skynet.

Joao Martins
Reply to  PCman999
July 15, 2021 11:10 am

Indeed!

Red94ViperRT10
Reply to  Joao Martins
July 15, 2021 3:43 pm

There are exceptions… Replacing the widely spaced pine trees (at least 35 feet trunk-trunk, according to early explorers’ notes) interspersed with grassland by rows of closely spaced pines that do not allow sunlight to the “forest” floor (a common practice throughout the American Southeast, maybe further, and considered desirable because lower limbs dying off increases the number of board-feet without knotholes) also produces less graze for wildlife and allows almost no competing plants to gain purchase. So overall, a managed pine plantation, that is a form of agriculture after all, is way less productive than the pine forests they replace.

Now to the land owner, that form of agriculture does increase his return on investment, so I will make no effort to curtail such a practice, but still…

Duane
Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
July 15, 2021 6:10 pm

North American aborigines routinely deforested (via burning) much of the continent, because grasslands are far more productive food sources for the animals they depended upon for food, clothing, and tools – the grazers otherwise known as Buffalo and elk.

Yet all the leftwingnut greenies tell us that our natives here thrived in a “sustainable” ecosystem. So why are Polynesians who settled Rapa Nui and deforested it to grow food crops considered to have lived “unsustainably” as rapers of the environment?

Joao Martins
Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
July 16, 2021 7:28 am

You are right: there are exceptions.

And you are also right because of my fault: I did not mention whose “carrying capacity”: I was thinking of that of human population (so, food in the widest sense; I know that a few more dollars from forestry are welcome to feed people; but they only can do it if actual food, not pine logs, is available).

Last edited 14 days ago by Joao Martins
MarkW
Reply to  dk_
July 15, 2021 8:24 am

If they don’t die out, then they are by definition sustainable.
Sustainable does not mean that life was pleasant, just that it didn’t die out.

Doonman
Reply to  MarkW
July 15, 2021 11:15 am

99.9% of all species that ever existed have already gone extinct. The odds of “sustainability” are poor.

Mr.
Reply to  Doonman
July 15, 2021 12:52 pm

97%
Gotta be 97% to get published.

Reply to  Doonman
July 15, 2021 1:12 pm

Doonman:
Agreed.
And a modern society powered by renewables, such as wind & solar, is not sustainable. Civilization is in more danger from Biden’s Green New Deal than any global warming.
How can making society more fragile by using weather-dependent sources of energy ever be considered sustainable, or even rational?

Red94ViperRT10
Reply to  B. Zipperer
July 15, 2021 3:46 pm

Remember Alinsky’s Rules… “‘The Issue’ is never the issue.” Sustainable and net-zero are just buzz-words used to make excuses for exercising power and control over the citizens as a whole. There is no other “rational” explanation.

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  dk_
July 15, 2021 9:16 am

And yet if it wasn’t for the survival success of “undocumented Stone Age cultures”, you wouldn’t be here. Your forebears grubbed in the dirt, ignobly and unromantically, but they made it. Check your lineage. It may be woke for sophisticates like you to dis their ancestors, but the fact is you owe your very existence to those savages.

Mark D
Reply to  dk_
July 15, 2021 9:36 am

Michael Z Williamson explores what paleolithic life was like via SF novel wherein a Army unit in Afghanistan suddenly finds itself 10,00 – 15,000 yrs in the past. Even with the technology they took with them hard and likely short. I recommend the book highly. Especially to anyone longing for “the good old days”.

Last edited 15 days ago by Mark D
Red94ViperRT10
Reply to  Mark D
July 15, 2021 3:54 pm

I once had a job that required me to commute 42 miles each way in the Houston area. For some reason, I began fantasizing one day about making that same trip 500 or even 600 years before. Remember, the horse was brought to the New World by the Spanish conquistadors in the early 16th century, so the Houston area 600 years ago didn’t even allow access to a horse. While the Gulf Coast has a “coastal savannah” that is entirely grasslands, Harris Co. was far enough inland that (I believe) 600 years ago it was entirely covered by forest. Furthermore, even today, anyone in Harris Co., Texas is within a mile of a waterway, whether it’s a river, creek, bayou or what-have-you. So before interstate highway systems, before even roads, every time you came to one of those waterways, you had to find a way across it. I have read settlers reports that a good day in that environment was 4 miles a day, it was not uncommon for a family to make camp for the night within sight of the campfire of the previous night. And that was with horses and/or oxen and a wagon, as well as steel-headed axes that could clear trees, so none of that existed in that area until after 500 years ago. So imagine, if somehow, just as in that Sci-Fi story, I and my wife were both transported back 500 years prior, without changing physical location, how long would it take me to get from my place of work back to my wife (who worked from home)?

Last edited 14 days ago by Red94ViperRT10
Mark D
Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
July 15, 2021 4:12 pm

You probably wouldn’t live long enough.

starzmom
Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
July 16, 2021 7:54 am

600 years ago, you might have found a way to travel by water, rather than worrying about crossing it. 42 miles one way might be a bit of a stretch, though.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  dk_
July 15, 2021 11:20 am

Easter Island was not stone age (paleolithic). It was a Polynesian culture with agriculture and advanced nautical capabilities that allowed them to sail over thousands of miles of open ocean. Before the 17th Century, they were the greatest seafaring race the world had seen.

John Tillman
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
July 15, 2021 6:52 pm

With possible exception of the Norse. Granted, their distances were shorter, but sea conditions far worse.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  John Tillman
July 15, 2021 8:28 pm

Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia (2019) by  Christina Thompsonhttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0062060872/

“Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings” 2020 by Neil Price
https://www.amazon.com/Children-Ash-Elm-History-Vikings/dp/0465096980/

I am giving it to the Polynesians.

John Tillman
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
July 16, 2021 3:51 am

Paleolithic is the Old Stone Age. Neolithic is the New Stone Age, after agriculture but before copper and bronze. So, yes, pre-contact Rapa Nui had a Stone Age culture.

starzmom
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
July 16, 2021 7:56 am

It may not be within paleolithic times as defined by Europe and Asia, but it would seem they lived a paleolithic lifestyle. In Europe, that did not rule out sea travel, as the Shetland Islands and Orkney were both settled in that timeframe.

John Tillman
Reply to  starzmom
July 16, 2021 3:03 pm

As above, neolithic, not paleolithic. The Rapanui had to practice agriculture, they couldn’t get by hunting and gathering. It was once thought that they hunted porpoises, but this appears not to have been a regular subsistence strategy.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  dk_
July 15, 2021 7:37 pm

Yes and No, dk_

Yes living in a cave is only really something to inspire to if your other option is dying in a cave and ‘Noble Savage’ were more than often also Nasty, Brutal and Short.

No being Nasty, Brutal and Short does not automatically mean you cannot ‘sustain’ your Nasty, Brutal and Short life style.

Key point is what your definition of Sustainable actually is. In our context my understanding of ‘Sustainable’ is their lifestyle itself wasn’t the prime risk of failure. The argument being put forward here was that they COULD keep obtaining fresh water and COULD keep eating from their gardens. None of them were going to die from thirst or starvation.

Die from inbreeding. Die from easily avoidable medical conditions. Die from internal violence. Die from having a giant stone head fall on them. Yeah, THOSE things are still a major risk, but that, in context, is different from the argument that they could sustain their food and water needs.

The other point is that sustaining your base needs is NOT the same as actually growing. I feel confident in saying that this sustainable life on the island had a definite upper limit in both population and development. Easter Island, left in isolation for any extended period of time, was never going to develop technology as we know it.

To grow as a technological culture you need access to the resources, population large enough to allow specialist to develop without being a burden and a social requirement or reward for the improvement to be developed in the first place. You live in a land locked desert you and your friends are not going to experiment with ocean going ships for example. You don’t need to cross water and even if a ship was gifted to you there is no practical use you can put it to.

So, again, in answer to your post, Yes and No.

John Tillman
Reply to  dk_
July 16, 2021 4:50 pm

Critics of DiNapoli and Lipo question their 14C dates on the youngest moai, but IMO Roggeveen’s description of the Rapanui in 1722 doesn’t show an island in collapse.


July 15, 2021 2:45 am

The Earth cannot support an infinite number of people.
Therefore in principle Malthus was right.
Just because we haven’t reached that limit yet doesn’t mean there is no limit

How are we doing?
….

Okay.png
fretslider
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2021 2:53 am

How are we doing?

As bonkers as ever….

MEGHAN Markle and Prince Harry have won an award for making the “enlightened decision” to only have two children.

Charity Population Matters said it was recognising the couple with the “Special Award” for reducing their impact on the environment.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/15550712/meghan-harry-award-two-kids-decision/
How are we doing?

The Sussexes have reframed childbirth as a threat to the environment.

Last edited 15 days ago by fretslider
Climate believer
Reply to  fretslider
July 15, 2021 4:47 am

Definitely two too many in their case, sterilisation should have been their goal, very disappointed, not woke enough.

goracle
Reply to  fretslider
July 15, 2021 5:42 am

being born into vast amounts of wealth doesn’t mean you’re exempt from stupidity… quite often the opposite is true

fretslider
Reply to  goracle
July 15, 2021 6:28 am

The Windsor family is proof positive of that.

Red94ViperRT10
Reply to  fretslider
July 15, 2021 4:01 pm

If you’re interested in “sustainable” that was the wrong decision. The human population has already reduced the average birthrate, worldwide, to below replacement level, which is something like 2.4 (?) children per woman (I have yet to meet that 0.4 person, but I digress). “Sustainable” would mean sustaining what currently exists (right?), but with this current reproduction rate, the human population has already begun an inevitable decline, and in my mind decline always is a bad thing. So, Ganggreen, short-sighted much?

Dave Andrews
Reply to  fretslider
July 16, 2021 6:38 am

Hey, my wife and I also only had two kids way before those Royal types. Where’s our award?

John Tillman
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2021 3:14 am

Malthus was dead wrong. His “trap” said that increases in agricultural production would lead to more population rather than an increase in living standards.

Today the developed world faces the threat of declining population. In Eastern and Southern Europe it’s already a fact. It soon will be in Japan and Korea. China is on the brink. India’s average age is young, but its growth is slowing. The only continent with rapid population growth now is Africa.

Malthus failed to appreciate the effects of industrialization, public health, birth control and the education of women on demographic transition. Foreseeing all of that would have required prophetic powers, but he lived through the Industrial Revolution.

commieBob
Reply to  John Tillman
July 15, 2021 5:30 am

As far as I can tell, Malthus was wrong even as he wrote.

By Malthus’ time the Western European Marriage Pattern (WMP) had developed. It essentially controlled population growth by postponing marriage until much later than it had been previously and making child birth before wedlock a sinful act.

So, the WMP is an example of how people learn and adapt. Lots of scholars seem to think our ancestors were somehow stupid. There has always been ample evidence that people are really smart and manage to avoid things like boom-bust population patterns that govern creatures like bunnies and wolves.

Malthus was just another arrogant pedant.

Reply to  commieBob
July 15, 2021 7:05 am

Have a look at India or Pakistan if you want to see ‘Malthus in action’

Decisions to limit childbirth requre a minimum level of affluence to begin with:

John Tillman
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2021 7:18 am

India’s population growth is under control. Even Muslim families are starting to limit the number of their children, as their chances of survival to adulthood have increased, and as girls go to school.

Pakistan, not so much. Yet. Fertility rate still high (3.51 in 2018), but headed down. Bangladesh’s rate (2.04) was then below India’s (2.22). Replacement is roughly 2.1 kids per woman.

Last edited 15 days ago by John Tillman
MarkW
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2021 8:38 am

Would this be the same India that used to be ravaged by famines every few decades but hasn’t seen a famine in a long time?
How is that Malthus in action?

starzmom
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 16, 2021 8:01 am

The most effective thing you can do to limit fertility is educate women and girls. This has the added effect of increasing affluence and women and girls take jobs or start businesses.

Kevin
Reply to  commieBob
July 15, 2021 9:23 am

“… making child birth before wedlock a sinful act.”

That is no longer the case. Single motherhood is now considered a badge of honor equivalent to military service.

John Tillman
Reply to  Kevin
July 15, 2021 12:25 pm

A lot of single moms in the military.

John Tillman
Reply to  commieBob
July 15, 2021 12:30 pm

His dates are 1766 to 1834, so the heart of the IR. The way out of his alleged trap was going on all around him. His book on population came out in 1798.

UK population was still growing but people were better fed, until interrupted by the Hungry ‘Forties and Irish potato famine after his death.

He supported taxes on grain (the Corn Laws), which contributed to malnutrition. They were repealed in 1846.

Last edited 14 days ago by John Tillman
John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
July 15, 2021 1:56 pm

Naturally, there aren’t hard and fast start and end dates, but historians are OK with 1760 for the beginning and split between 1820 and 1840 for the end. IMO, 1820 is too early. There were steam locomotives before then, but the world’s first commercial public RR was in 1825 in NE England.

Basically, the second wave of the IR saw steam replace water for power and transport (RRs for canals).

Morse’s electric telegraph and code date from 1838, but obviously it took decades for systems to be built out. Bessemer’s steel process wasn’t patented until 1856, so the IR could even be stretched out to 1860, for a full century, plus one year.

Jenner’s vaccination was in 1796, and Pasteur’s germ theory of disease is from the late 1850s to ’60s, with Lister’s antiseptic surgery in 1865.

In any case, it’s agreed that electric light, the telephone, petroleum starting to replace coal, internal combustion engine, automatic weapons, etc, are outgrowths of the IR, but after its end. To be followed by heavier than air flight, radio, TV, antibacterial drugs, atomic energy, electronic computers, the Internet, cell phones, etc.

One word. Plastics! ‘Nuff said!

Last edited 14 days ago by John Tillman
Kevin
Reply to  John Tillman
July 15, 2021 9:37 am

What has sustained global population increases since Malthus were the scientific and technological developments by those of European lineage as well as opening up new agricultural lands in Australia and the Americas (also by those of European lineage). If there is a threat from declining population it is from the relative decline in population of those of European lineage. I have doubts that others can pick up the slack.

Red94ViperRT10
Reply to  Kevin
July 15, 2021 4:16 pm

I sort of cringe at that remark. It is racist, but I won’t condemn you because the historical fact is correct. I also believe that heredity determines a lot, but not everything, about a person’s future success. I mean, intelligence is hereditary, and much knowledge is passed on to children by their parents and learned in their own household, so upon reaching adulthood, much of what a person is has come from his family, both genetics and learning, but after establishing independence, a person is free to study and learn what they will. Even a person born of parents with average (or even below average) intelligence and raised in a household with little (or at least not easy) access to things-to-learn, can still make a success of himself, even if they have to learn how after leaving home. It’s my firm belief that those of all races have the capability to succeed, if allowed to. Look at how minorities can succeed (not all do, but the opportunity is there) in the U.S. of A.

In short, you are correct that much of our history, at least of what’s known as The Western World, is largely because of people of European descent. But with regards to the future, I observe with interest to see what will happen and who will do it!

Kevin
Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
July 15, 2021 9:03 pm

Have you seen any breakthrough innovations on the part of our leading contenders for succession, the Chinese or Indians? I don’t. Plenty of admittedly sophisticated imitations, the recent Chinese lander/rover on mars being a good example but that was equivalent to the mid-2000s US design.

I did a drive-by check and most Chinese who have won prestigious prizes in mathematics have been those in the West. Math is essentially pure brainpower and doesn’t need expensive facilities. So I think a western style of open society (NOT what Soros has in mind). So I think IQ AND culture are vital.

I think we will see a pause in major scientific and technological innovation over the next several decades unless the west can get back in the game.

I used “lineage” rather than race. But if the truth is racist, I don’t care.

MarkW
Reply to  Kevin
July 16, 2021 7:27 am

If you examine the historical record, you will find that prior to 4 or 5 hundred years ago, China was way ahead of the west in terms of technological advancement.
During the dark ages, India was also way ahead of Europe.

Kevin
Reply to  MarkW
July 16, 2021 1:43 pm

True enough. But what innovations have they made recently?

dk_
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2021 4:17 am

How are we doing?

Even the U.N. predicts population growth will level out at sometime around 2050. Malthus was wrong. But population will decline rapidly, worldwide, if the greentards enable the CCP to take over the world. Learn to kowtow.

Reply to  dk_
July 15, 2021 7:09 am

Population leveling out is an acknowledgement that Malthusian growth has exceeded resources.

Sitting in your comfortable US or European or even Australian chair, you dont see the reality of China India middle east and Africa.

Something will limit population. It might be choice, it might be starvation, it might be pandemic or it might be warfare.

But populations cannot continue to grow.

MarkW
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2021 8:41 am

You are so wedded to your discredited philosophy that you have to make ever more outrageous claims to justify it.

The problem with your anti-human beliefs, is that the facts disagree with them.

If the places where population growth was leveling out were places with grinding poverty, you would be correct.
However the fact remains that population growth is occurring in those places where wealth is increasing the fastest. That is the complete opposite of what Malthus predicted.

Populations can easily continue to grow, using current technology we could easily support 2 to 3 times the current population.

AndyHce
Reply to  MarkW
July 15, 2021 11:39 am

That declaration is very much like a double negative

Red94ViperRT10
Reply to  MarkW
July 15, 2021 4:22 pm

Actually, good point, “…using current technology…” and technology will continue to advance even at is doing right now. So, there may be an ultimate limit to population, but who knows what it might be?

AndyHce
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2021 11:37 am

Without immigration the US population might well have began declining. What kind of resource was exceeded to achieve that? How did increasing immigration increase that resource?

John Tillman
Reply to  AndyHce
July 15, 2021 1:08 pm

US fertility rate in 2018 was 1.73 births per woman, vs. 1.68 for the UK. In 2019, the EU registered 1.53 live births per woman, ranging from 1.14 in Malta to 1.86 in France (thanks to large Muslim population).

China and the US have about the same median age, at about 38.

Last edited 14 days ago by John Tillman
dk_
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2021 1:51 pm

Nonsense, Leo. You’re engaging in doubletalk. You argue for Malthus and the opposite in the same sentence. Irrational and self-contradictory.

Red94ViperRT10
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2021 4:21 pm

Actually, China is already staring into the face of disaster, and they know it, why do you think they finally relaxed (removed?) the one-child policy? There are 10 million (? I didn’t research this, this is only what I remember) males who will never have a wife, there is that much disparity between the sexes. And their birthrate is well-below replacement rate today. I sort of suspect that motivates some of the imprisonment and re-education of the ethnic minorities.

niceguy
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2021 4:37 am

The fascination for asymptotic reasoning must end.

Reply to  niceguy
July 15, 2021 7:10 am

Asymtoticx reaosning is appropriate as exponential growth approaches a limit.

Knee jerk thinking must end

MarkW
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2021 8:42 am

Once again, you have to deny reality in order to defend your anti-human beliefs.
There is no exponential growth, hasn’t been in several hundred years. If ever.

Red94ViperRT10
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2021 4:24 pm

OK… so why do you keep posting, then? Maybe do some research, and stop with the “…[k]nee jerk thinking…”

Stephen Skinner
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2021 6:17 am

How many is infinite?

Reply to  Stephen Skinner
July 15, 2021 7:09 am

More than that

Red94ViperRT10
Reply to  Stephen Skinner
July 15, 2021 4:25 pm

I created myself a logo, it’s an infinity sign, with an infinity sign in the exponent position. Interesting, right?

MarkW
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2021 8:33 am

Since the earth can’t support an infinite number of people, therefore it can’t support the number we have now.

If you can’t see the logical fallacy you are creating, then there is no point trying to educate you on your many other mistakes.

A grand total of nobody has ever argued that there are no limits. The fact that you have to lie about what those who disagree with you are saying just shows that even you know the point you are preaching isn’t supportable.

There is a limit, that limit gets larger every time there is an improvement in technology.
With modern technology, the limit is probably between 15 and 20 billion.

Regardless, the earth’s population of human’s is going to max out sometime in the next 10 to 20 years and then start falling.

So stop panicking and go back to sleep.

John Hultquist
Reply to  MarkW
July 15, 2021 9:33 am

 ” to max out sometime in the next 10 to 20 years ”

I find one projection of max population in 2064 of 9.7B. Other projections have the max-pop closer to 2100, about 11B.
These sorts of things have wide variation after 2040.

MarkW
Reply to  John Hultquist
July 15, 2021 11:01 am

To get projections that far out, they have to make assumptions like any country with above replacement birth rates, will have their birth rates stabilize at replacement level, and that countries currently below replacement level will have their birth rates return to replacement level.
Neither of these assumptions have ever happened in the past, and there is no evidence that they are going to occur at any time in the next 100 years.

Merely assuming that all current trends continue gets you a peak date of around 2050.
If you assume that current trends continue to accelerate gets you a peak date in the next 10 to 20 years.

Last edited 14 days ago by MarkW
Red94ViperRT10
Reply to  MarkW
July 15, 2021 4:34 pm

Actually, they need to work into the model somehow, that as each population has reached some level of affluence(?) or technology(?) or percentage of the population required for agriculture(?) or something, maybe all of the above, the birthrate begins to decline. And I don’t really know how to work that into models that indicate, for example most of Africa is currently stagnant with regard to infrastructure development (because of World Bank and etc. trying to tell them they can’t enjoy the same cheap energy the developed world used to get developed, they must do it on unreliables) will they ever reach such a level? Will their birthrates continue unabated without technology, or begin to decline due to outside pressures, even without technology? Will China step in and “loan” the money to develop infrastructure anyway, despite what the WB says? (I know, I find that a repugnant proposition, but the result, an improved infrastructure, would still be the same.) So amongst those models we have reviewed, there may be a useful one.

AndyHce
Reply to  John Hultquist
July 15, 2021 11:42 am

Now that gain-of-function is developed, results can be provided to order.

niceguy
Reply to  MarkW
July 15, 2021 5:58 pm

The Sun can’t sustain fusion for infinite time so…

John Hultquist
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2021 9:14 am

An infinite number of people would be more massive than Earth.
At least 10,000 hogshead more.

Red94ViperRT10
Reply to  John Hultquist
July 15, 2021 4:34 pm

You ain’t retro until you can work in furlongs/fortnight!

John Hultquist
Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
July 15, 2021 6:59 pm

 Well, Red, I’m not so many fortnights old that I remember pacing off furlongs, but my mother claimed she walked 8 of them to first grade school, uphill both ways, in snow up to her belt. She was quite tall when telling me this and pointing at her waist. I challenged her on the depth because her belt was now more than 5 hands above her toes.  

MarkW
Reply to  John Hultquist
July 16, 2021 7:31 am

I remember one alarmist proclaiming that he had proof that global warming was causing less snow fall.

Snow drifts that came up to his waist when he was a child, barely came up to his knees now.

PCman999
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2021 10:58 am

Who says we’re limited to the Earth? Who says we have to have draconian measures now because ‘sometime in the future’ the sky will fall in?

John Tillman
July 15, 2021 2:50 am

Rapa Nui was practically depopulated in the 19th century by disease, Peruvian slave raiding and transportation to Tahiti. Old Rapa Nui language has been replaced by Tahitian and Spanish influenced Modern Rapa Nui. Kids speak Spanish.

bonbon
Reply to  John Tillman
July 15, 2021 3:43 am

Since we are talking about an actual people, with a written script :

https://www.worldcat.org/title/deciphering-the-easter-island-tablets-part-2-by-dr-barry-fell/oclc/50220418
And Barry Fell Deciphering the Easter Island Tablets : 47 min.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zh9Wm_-UvIs

Besides ecological hysteria, epigraphic hysteria adds to the cacophony.

John Tillman
Reply to  bonbon
July 16, 2021 3:09 pm

It’s not at all clear that rongrongo is a script.

bonbon
Reply to  bonbon
July 27, 2021 3:18 am

Rongrongo is also found in Hawaii and Tahiti.
See The Epigraphic Society Occasional PublicationsVolume 19 Page 278A Polynesian Inscription from Tahiti Source of Rapa Nui script revealed
Here is the referenced Gauguin painting with the ancestors names depicted :

494px-Paul_Gauguin_-_The_Ancestors_of_Tehamana_OR_Tehamana_Has_Many_Parents_(Merahi_metua_no_Tehamana)_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg
bonbon
July 15, 2021 3:05 am

More than anyone the notorious anthropologist Margaret Mead is personally responsible for the myth.
As the assistant curator of ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, who would function as the earth goddess” of the Cybernetics Group, and would help launch the modern feminist movement, through her patronage of Betty Friedan, a student-protégé of Kurt Lewin.
This anthropologist, already totally discredited over Samoa, actually started the climate hysteria. Her husband Gregory Bateson, went on to found the notorious MK Ultra program.
Mead is famous for saying, “Instead of needing lots of children, we need high-quality children.” Malthus again.
https://www.nytimes.com/1978/11/16/archives/carter-mourns-anthropologist-margaret-mead-is-dead-of-cancer-at-76.html
See : Endangered Atmosphere’ Conference:Where the Global Warming Hoax Was Born
Mead’s keynote is clear:
https://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2007/eirv34n23-20070608/50-55_723.pdf

112810309_360W.png
dk_
Reply to  bonbon
July 15, 2021 4:12 am

Instead of needing lots of children, we need high-quality children.

You say Malthus, I say eugenicist. Popular with Social-democrats of all ages.

bonbon
Reply to  dk_
July 15, 2021 4:41 am

Correct, Darwin read Malthus and got inspired. Galton, his cousin coined eugenics.
Mead put a sciency spin on that with anthropology.

dk_
Reply to  bonbon
July 15, 2021 5:33 am

And Mead set the standard for making up the science to fit the social theory du jour.

John Tillman
Reply to  bonbon
July 15, 2021 7:25 am

Darwin overstated his reliance on Malthus, whom he didn’t read until two years after returning home on Beagle in 1836. His notebook from 1837 shows that he had already conceived of common descent and natural selection. What he got from Malthus was a mathematical expression of population growth in species which can’t or don’t control their numbers.

bonbon
Reply to  John Tillman
July 15, 2021 8:29 am
Last edited 15 days ago by bonbon
John Tillman
Reply to  bonbon
July 15, 2021 6:27 pm

Sorry, but canadianpatriot.org isn’t a reputable history of science site.

Historically important scientists are often not the best historians of their science, for obvious reasons.

Malthus was not an important contributor to Darwin’s discovery of common descent and natural selection. But tying the origin of species to a prominent, influential Tory political economist was a plus for the liberal Whig Darwin.

bonbon
Reply to  John Tillman
July 16, 2021 4:46 am

See Reference 3 in that report :
(3) The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809-1882: With original omissions restored. 1958, W.W. Norton & Co., 1969, N.Y. reprint p. 119-120

Now how about the reputation of that Malthusian Darwin?

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) in his diary dated October 1838 tells us how he came up with his idea of Natural Selection:“I happened to read for amusement Malthus ON POPULATION and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favorable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavorable ones to be destroyed. The result of this would be the formation of new species. Here, then, I had at least got a theory by which to work.” (3)
This entry appears roughly 21 years prior to the publication of Darwin’s work.

So here we see Malthus plagiarizing Ortes, and Darwin, well, copying, all for the greater glory of the British East India Company. Makes Big Pharma today look like amateurs!

John Tillman
Reply to  bonbon
July 16, 2021 6:44 pm

Again, as I’ve already mentioned, Darwin clearly had discovered natural selection before Malthus. He credited Malthus perhaps to garner favor with Tories, who might otherwise object to such an impious theory.

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
July 18, 2021 2:38 pm

While already convinced that “transmutation” (evolution) occurred, and that natural selection was one of its processes, Darwin took from Malthus the math behind “survival of the fittest”.

His earliest known reference to “natural selection”, analogous to the artificial selection of plant and animal breeding, wasn’t until 1842. But he had the concept in mind already by at least 1837.

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
July 18, 2021 2:43 pm

PS: Cambridge only discovered in November 2020 that two of Darwin’s notebooks were stolen, possibly as long ago as 2000.

https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-55044129

Hard for me to believe that no historians of science had wanted to look at them in the interval.

Reply to  dk_
July 15, 2021 6:18 am

Arrhenius…

dk_
Reply to  Krishna Gans
July 15, 2021 1:32 pm

Krishna, I am deeply skeptical of Arrhenius (or at least those who would canonize him), but don’t think that he made it up.

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  dk_
July 15, 2021 6:32 am

Exactly what constitutes a “high-quality” child? Is this based on I.Q., size, pleasing appearance, eye/skin color?

Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
July 15, 2021 7:11 am

One that tastes better than roast wild boar?

Red94ViperRT10
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2021 4:37 pm

I’m actually tempted to upvote this, just because it’s so funny. But I have resisted.

dk_
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
July 15, 2021 11:11 am

It varies greatly depending upon the IQ, sex, size, appearance, skin and eye color of the eugenicist ideologue.

Reply to  bonbon
July 15, 2021 6:40 am

I thought immediately of Margaret Meade too.

For those who are not yet aware that Meade’s “Coming of Age in Samoa” was a scam, see this video eviscerating her fake Samoa “research”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOCYhmnx6o8

At 40:10 in the video, Meade’s main “source” for her perverted fantasies explains the truth.

Meade’s scam has been a prototype for pseudo-scientific scams ever since.

Climate believer
July 15, 2021 3:05 am

Reality trumps ideology every time.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Climate believer
July 15, 2021 10:31 am

Try to explain that to socialists (of all flavours).

Red94ViperRT10
Reply to  Rory Forbes
July 15, 2021 4:38 pm

Right. Any failures, regardless how egregious, are only because they didn’t do it right!

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
July 15, 2021 5:28 pm

When scrutinized closely, there is no “right” way apply socialism. However you torture the theory it can never result in a practically functional outcome and usually a horrendous outcome for everyone but a few upper level bureaucrats.

Derg
July 15, 2021 3:13 am

People like the Griff, Simon, Ghalfrunt, Izaak, Lloydo…are the type of people that want everyone’s standard of living diminished in order to “save” the planet…except their own. They are the type that say we need vaccines for the poor yet their policies do anything to help the poor. They are the type that demand better public schools but send their kids to private schools. They are the type that run our major cities….

They are human 💩.

John Tillman
Reply to  Derg
July 15, 2021 3:18 am

The commenters you mention are at most three different people.

fretslider
Reply to  John Tillman
July 15, 2021 3:44 am

three different people….

…in the same body.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  fretslider
July 15, 2021 8:49 am

Ah, now isn’t there some kind of word to describe people with two or more personalities???

MarkW
Reply to  Alan the Brit
July 15, 2021 11:03 am

liberal?

Ed Zuiderwijk
July 15, 2021 3:32 am

Well, we are cutting down trees to burn them in powerplants or to make way for solar panels and erect statues with moving arms to honour the Great Climate Change Tomali.

I visited the place in the 1970s well before tourism really spoilt it. I was told then that the population collapsed after the arrival of the Europeans because they brought disease. And in particular the French vandalised the place because some idiot had figured that under the moais gold was burried. So when Thor Heyerdahl’s expedition arrived the first thing he did was re-erect the many torn down statues, but, amateur as he was, let them look the wrong way. Bit difficult to figure out what really happened after all that.

For those who intend to visit the place: try to find lodgings with families in Hanga Roa instead of using the riduculously priced hotel. And don’t be tempted to ride on horseback to Rano Raraku (you have to catch the horse first, for a start).

John Tillman
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
July 15, 2021 3:53 am

The few Rapa Nui people who survived slavery in Peru carried smallpox to the island, devastating the already sadly depleted population. The entire royal family died of smallpox, TB, starvation and overwork in Peru.

The airport was lengthened by the US in 1987, permitting wide body jets to land. It was supposed to be an abort base for NASA’s Space Shuttle.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  John Tillman
July 15, 2021 4:28 am

Indeed. The airstrip straddles the whole width of the island at that point. Unfortunately right at the southern end is the only place where ships can dock, so all essential supplies are stored there, in particular fuels. When I arrived on a Boeing 707 passengers were welcomed with flowers and songs. After an hour or so everybody had moved on and only a few arrivals had not left while the plane prepared to take off for Tahiti with engines full throttle at the far end of the strip. Yet the singing continued which puzzled me. No, I was told, now they are praying.

bonbon
July 15, 2021 3:54 am

Malthus himself, as a paid writer for the British East India Company, was an out-and-out petty thief, who plagiarized the bulk of his work from eighteenth century Venetian Giammaria Ortes. Using Ortes’s assertion that the Earth has a finite carrying capacity,” Malthus wrote in order to abolish the poor laws in the British Isles, causing the death of poor children, and in order to justify a massive increase of looting of India, which led to the famines, drug wars, and population collapse of the nineteenth century on the Indian subcontinent.
The actual purpose of Malthus’ tract was population reduction. Remember he worked for Adam Smith’s British East Indie Company, which many today associate with capitalism.

niceguy
July 15, 2021 4:35 am

Many years ago, on a French TV (Canal+ I think), a commentator said that the story may be completely false (we would say “fake news” now, but it was before the term was widely used), but it was still a good and beneficial story and we should follow the “lessons” of that made up false story.

starzmom
Reply to  niceguy
July 16, 2021 8:10 am

Was that Dan Rather’s new job?

dk_
July 15, 2021 4:54 am

Given the comparatively small number of radiocarbon dates, we cannot determine whether our inability to discern between the competing models is the consequence of small sample size, the small ‘effect size’ in models 2–4 (i.e., the absolute deviation of βpalm andβSOI from 0), or a combination of both factors.

So they did all this reasoning from really sparse data fed into a computer program, then bent the facts and mistated the other theories in order to prove their new ideas. Hollow man, anyone?

I don’t remember the theory from Diamond saying that the palms were a food source. Instead, in his field of ornithology, I thought his focus was on their quality as a habitat for birds as game animals, and their ability to be used for watercraft, rope and netting, until (in his mind) trees were used as rollers and scaffolding. Later it was shown experimentaly that the islanders didn’t need rollers or scaffolding as much as they did lots of strong rope to quarry and move the statues.

Pretty sure that the euro rats were thought to have finished off the young growth palms and spread disease.

I also doubt that neolithic agricultural practices are sustainable. In Asia, North Africa, and Europe (for around 5000 years) agriculture depended on seasonal inundation or the medieval development of managed crop rotation and long term soil development to sustain a larger human population than the number of farmers. Especially in volcanic closed environments, fields just wear out after, at best, a couple growing seasons, and aren’t fertile again without silt, fertilization, and scientific management. Neolithic farming required a support system including full-time hunting, fishing, and usually wide-area migratory herding and grazing to support a growing population. None of these were possible at Rapanui due to no seasonal river floods (or even rivers), lack of large animals, small total area, and (again, per my memory from DIamond’s hypothesis) no trees suitable to support rafts or canoes for fishing.

Also neolithic farming did not provide a varied diet. You need more than a few crop varieties to feed people in a growing population.

If all the strong, well-fed people were busy, for hundreds of years, hauling inedible stone statues about, I wonder just how many could have been involved with subsistance farming using stone-age technology?

Maybe, DiNapoli and Lipo, next time ask a farmer, an agronomist, an economist, or a biologist (gasp — study people, like an anthropologist) instead of getting an undergrad to fix the software so as to cook your books for you.

Last edited 15 days ago by dk_
Reply to  dk_
July 15, 2021 5:10 am

Great summary of truth in Rutger Bregman’s Humankind, which offers a much more optimistic view of humanity than one gets from climate scientists or covideers or media or politicians or academics. (he is in Lomborg camp on climate, happening but humans can easily adapt to effects).

But the Easter Island lie is a useful story for Malthusians.

Like the lie about lemmings which is a good image of climate scientists, covideers, politicans and most of the public rushing headlong to disaster …

No real lemming is that stupid.

Tom Foley
July 15, 2021 5:01 am

Interesting article with predictable comments. I’ll accept this as the most likely hypothesis, for now. But I predict that’s not the end of the Rapa Nui story. There will be more research, leading to another hypothesis in the future, and another one after that. And the old hypotheses overturned by the new research discoveries will be labelled myth. That’s the nature of science. We’re still coming to terms with the new hominid discoveries, Denisovans (2010) and Dragon Man (2021).

dk_
Reply to  Tom Foley
July 15, 2021 5:49 am

Interesting to note, in your context, that both Denisovans and Dragon Man were new interpretations of old samples and observations. But good archeologists almost always state out front that they are guessing based on available evidence. Political and ideological anthropologists start from certainty, then selectively develop interpretations based on the theory, from Mead to now new and improved with computers substituting for evidence.

July 15, 2021 5:13 am

Great summary of truth in Rutger Bregman’s Humankind, which offers a much more optimistic view of humanity than one gets from climate scientists or covideers or media or politicians or academics. (he is in Lomborg camp on climate, happening but humans can easily adapt to effects).

But the Easter Island lie is a useful story for Malthusians.

Like the lie about lemmings which is a good image of climate scientists, covideers, politicans and most of the public rushing headlong to disaster …

No real lemming is that stupid.

Peta of Newark
July 15, 2021 5:47 am

How did the natives import rats?

James Cook was told by Dutch navigators how to find Easter Island – sail west from S America, along the 27th parallel, and you cant miss it.

When he got there, various ‘things’ occurred to him:

  • Nothing to eat
  • No trees, despite seeing a single plank of wood about 8ft
  • No women – except for one ‘Madam’ -in every sense of the word who knew exactly what visiting sailors wanted/needed – she ‘attended’ to Senior members of Cook’s crew
  • It was a very unwelcoming place
  • Many of the statutes were toppled
  • When Madam had done, they left. Much sooner than was originally expected – there was simply no water or food with which to restock their ship as they’d hoped.

So… what were the Dutch doing there? Why did Madam ‘know’

Not difficult is it Shirley?
The Dutch were taking the womenfolk as sex slaves.. Nice captive little group on a remote but otherwise easy to find island.
Then, the boys left without the steadying influence of their women, amused themselves as best they could and trashed the place.

It’s the story of lord Of The Flies writ large

Same as what happened to Ancient Rome – boys and girls parted company (the divorce rate will be nudging 60% by now is it?) and the boys spent their time getting drunk, having a good time and indulging epic sexual deviance.

Just Like Now

And what’s happening here inside The Climate Debate if not the exact same things..
No women.
Endless stories about how things have never been better,
and esp Green Eyed Monsterism at ‘Rich Elites’
yeah right

‘Things have Never Been Better’ exactly because of Magical Thinking – itself a direct consequence of chronic chemically induced depression.
As you might get from being drunk often and regularly.
Or from smoking weed.
Or from eating cooked starch and refined sugar

Why do Fat Eaters (no, we are not esp carnivores) such as ourselves need to eat sugar? Where has all our food gone?
Just as Cook found on Easter Island, there is no food.
Sugar is only fuel for the obese, the magical thinkers, diabetics, stroke/heart attack and Alzheimer’s victims.
The only food we have now is toxic to every part of our beings, minds bodies and souls.

Re Rome again, I don’t really at all want to know, but now 13:30 UK BST – have YOU decided what sex you going to be today? There’s now a whole rainbow to choose from.

What about Statue Toppling as per Easter Island – seems to be All The Rage right now
Even before we get into Tree chopping and Drax power station not very least.
All done from the Magical Thoughts that chopping and burning will somehow ‘save us’
And that the Romans used slaves (hello hello China) to chop and destrpy all the forests; gardens and orchards around The Mediterranean Sea

Easter Island is a microcosm for Ancient Rome exactly as it is for what’s going on here and now.

the parallels are spine-chilling

Last edited 15 days ago by Peta of Newark
John Tillman
Reply to  Peta of Newark
July 15, 2021 7:40 am

The original settles brought Polynesian rats with them, plus chckens.

Cook approached Easter Island from the east, with Tahitian ‘terps aboard. He did now its approximate latitude from Dutch, if not Spanish accounts and charts.

He himself was still too weak from his illness to go ashore. His log:

https://www.easterisland.travel/easter-island-facts-and-info/history/ship-logs-and-journals/james-cook-1774/

“The inhabitants of this island do not seem to exceed six or seven hundred souls, and above two-thirds of those we saw were males. They either have but few females amongst them, or else many were restrained from making their appearance during our stay, for though we saw nothing to induce us to believe the men were of a jealous disposition, or the women afraid to appear in public, something of this kind was probably the case.”

Roggeveen reported two to three thousand people on the island in 1722, 52 years before Cook. I don’t know if other Dutch ships visited in the interval, but the Spanish may have in 1729, and definitely did in 1770.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Roggeveen

Last edited 15 days ago by John Tillman
John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
July 15, 2021 8:06 am

Settlers. Typing with cold hands here in the unusually frosty subtropical Southern Hemisphere.

Easter Island is administered by my Region Valparaiso, despite lying farther north.

Chile annexed Easter Island in 1888, after victory over Bolivia and Peru in the Pacific War, 1879-83. It also completed subjugation of the Mapuche Indians of south central Chile in the Grand Araucanian Wars of 1541-1883, using Winchester lever-action, repeating carbines, giving rise to the national police force, los Carabineros.

Last edited 15 days ago by John Tillman
John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
July 16, 2021 5:21 pm

Pinochet with young Rapa Nui woman:
comment image

Danley Wolfe
July 15, 2021 5:58 am

Relevance ? to “…global warming and climate change.” WUWT used to be “everything climate.”

MarkW
Reply to  Danley Wolfe
July 15, 2021 8:50 am

I have a suggestion.
If you aren’t interested in an article, don’t read it.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Danley Wolfe
July 15, 2021 9:42 am

 This sort of comment pops up a few times each year. Reminds me of the mushroom syndrome.

Frank from NoVA
July 15, 2021 5:59 am

“In just a few centuries, the people of Easter Island wiped out their forest, drove their plants and animals to extinction, and saw their complex society spiral into chaos and cannibalism. Are we about to follow their lead? – Jarad Diamond, 2005″

David, thanks for the reference to Jarad Diamond. I recall that the premise of his book ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ was that geography is destiny, so no culture is really responsible for its eventual success or failure. In retrospect, this sets the stage for state action and economic redistribution, which are always the remedies of choice of our Misanthropic Marxist Malthusian friends in the environmental / climate change movement.

Stephen Skinner
July 15, 2021 6:08 am

The Easter Islanders survived which is not the same as flourished. The modern western world has learned to get more from less while building up a huge arsenal of knowledge and capability which is confounding Malthusian ideology. However, the Easter Islanders, having cut down all their trees, were then unable to build boats which then cut off the ability to firstly catch big deep sea fish and secondly, travel to anywhere else.Why is this element not included or is the main thrust of this article trying not to be ‘woke’?

Stephen Skinner
Reply to  Stephen Skinner
July 15, 2021 6:48 am

I meant “…trying to BE ‘woke’?

Ghandi
July 15, 2021 6:09 am

The so-called pandemic, but ESPECIALLY the genetic Covid vaccines are all planned aspects of the GREAT RESET authored by Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum. These misguided Malthusians think the world’s population is “unsustainable,” so they’re planning a mass genocide with the vaccine as the death shot. Take the vaccine at your own peril because many world-renowned immunologists including Dr. Luc Montagnier and Dr. Delores Cahill are predicting a short lifespan for people who get these shots.

TonyG
Reply to  Ghandi
July 15, 2021 10:44 am

“…predicting a short lifespan for people who get these sh0ts.”

Unintended consequence or intentional malfeasance?

I’ve heard “theories” that say it’s intended, but I can’t make any sense of what the desired end result would be or what possible motivation there might be. If it’s money, why k!ll off your best customers? And if it’s political power, why off your supporters while leaving those most likely to oppose you?

July 15, 2021 6:32 am

This myth (actually, it’s a scam–people twisting facts in order to manipulate/influence other people) is very similar to the “anthropology” scam perpetrated by Margaret Meade.

“Scientific” scams designed to influence/manipulate society and opinion were common in the 1900s. As they are common today.

Margaret Meade was an acolyte of a Politically Correct Progressive movement designed to destroy Normal American culture. Her contribution was to denigrate American sexual morals. She was quite successful.

She was also a total fraud.

See this video (among other sources) for an absolute obliteration of Meade’s scam:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOCYhmnx6o8

At 40:10 in the video, Meade’s main “source” for her perverted fantasies explains the truth.

Meade’s scam has been a prototype for pseudo-scientific scams ever since.

dmanfred
July 15, 2021 7:01 am

One hypothesis I read explaining the forest disappearance is that the settlers brought a rodent with them. These rodents multiplied and ate all the tree seeds. So the forest could not reproduce.

John Tillman
Reply to  dmanfred
July 15, 2021 8:02 am

The closest living relative of the Easter Island palm:

If the people wanted to keep trees, they could have done so.

Chilean wine palm seeds in and out of their pods:
comment image
comment image

Last edited 15 days ago by John Tillman
John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
July 16, 2021 5:29 pm

They’re basically tiny coconuts. The Easter Island and Chilean wine palm are in the same tribe with genus Cocos.

But the palms weren’t an important food source for the Polynesian immigrants. They kept enough of the slow-growing trees to fashion makeshift rafts.

Diamond’s contention that deforestation led to collapse is simply untenable. The people burnt down the forest in order to sustain their population.

ResourceGuy
July 15, 2021 7:55 am

And future anthropologists will puzzle over the large beachside and whole island estates of the promoters of the myths. I predict much more academic debate on who the builders were and how they thrived during long periods of decline.

H. D. Hoese
July 15, 2021 8:44 am

“Given these facts, we are unable to confidently distinguish between the four hypotheses.”

These papers from many disparate disciplines, some “new sciences,” are so consistent, many from same editorial group (Nature, etc), 95 to 99% of references since 2000. This is one of their newest (2017) with very little ecology and evolution to be found, one heading. (Practise [sic] ethical ecology in inclusive teams)

Trisos, C.H., Auerbach, J. & Katti, M. Decoloniality and anti-oppressive practices for a more ethical ecology. Nature Ecology Evolution (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-021-01460-w
“More opportunities for historically marginalized groups to set research agendas is an important way of redressing ongoing power imbalances….Considering these five actions calls for reformulating research questions and practices as part of a decolonizing ecology that rejects extractive knowledge and instead generates knowledge that nurtures positive reciprocity with nature.”

Charles Higley
July 15, 2021 10:08 am

What a juicy piece of nothing. RATS. Yes, rats completely changed the island. I am not ignoring that about 75% of the population was captured into slavery and shipped to S. America and very few ever returned, which seriously took apart their society. It was slavers that truly destroyed this society.

Meanwhile, RATS came with the islanders and proceeded to eat the tree nuts such that no new trees grew. This was basically a monoculture, tree-wise, as the only species that made it to this island. Many trees also have lifetimes and with rats eating their seeds, they all died off. This would have happened regardless of humans cutting down even one tree.

The dodo bird was a similar situation, as a biological condition that is not really human caused. The dodo tree failed to have any seedlings since the demise of the dodo bird. A true scientist biologist figured out that the tough seeds of the tree had to pass through a dodo bird gizzard first to lose its tough outer exocarp. He passed some seeds a few times through a turkey and he had seedlings. Voila.

The assumption that anything that happens anywhere is because of humans is an anthropocentric view that taints science big time. Myopic and biased “scientists” are to be avoided and excluded, as their input is usually wrong. Yes, we should read what they say (to not miss some accidental truths/facts), but we also have to realize that there may only be a tinch of truth in their claims.

John Tillman
Reply to  Charles Higley
July 16, 2021 9:09 am

If the Polynesian rats were responsible for deforestation, then it’s still down to us humans, for having introduced them.

I’m not sure that that is what happened, however. This study concluded that people cut and burnt down the forest in order to plant gardens and orchards.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/223499079_Humans_climate_or_introduced_rats_-_which_is_to_blame_for_the_woodland_destruction_on_prehistoric_Rapa_Nui_Easter_Island

Also, contrary to previous conclusions, the people of Rapa Nui did not rely heavily seafood. Their main source of animal protein was from rats. Fewer birds visited after the palm trees were largely gone, but they had chickens.

Last edited 14 days ago by John Tillman
PCman999
July 15, 2021 10:44 am

I love the analogy, wind turbines are modern versions of the Easter Island idols, erected to convince the false climate god, CO2, to stop modifying the climate.

Walter Sobchak
July 15, 2021 11:17 am

Peiser showed that Easter island was destroyed and the people were enslaved by people from the Mainland in recent times.

ResourceGuy
July 15, 2021 12:21 pm

But NOVA told me the locals did it to their environment and themselves and the same message was said about the Vikings in Greenland. “Exploring new (agenda) ideas–without fact checking or follow up”

michel
July 15, 2021 1:29 pm

Europeans of course brought novel diseases, including syphilis. That led to the 18c population collapse.

Diamond’s account was classic fake history, fake anthropology, ideology driven. The desire to claim a parable for our times overtook any critical sense or proper investigation of the facts.

Instructive as an example of how religious myths are generated and propagated. We must await with interest the treatment which the faithful will mete out to the heretical and denialist authors.

Craig from Oz
July 15, 2021 6:04 pm

Diamond’s Guns, Germs was a good read with some interesting ideas. Arguments like the one where if you have no means of towing a wheeled cart – ie no horse, oxen, et al – then the wheel is pretty much just a concept, not a need. Enjoyed the read. Thought well of him.

Can’t remember the exact arguments but reasonably sure one of them revolved around adapting based on your environmental restrictions. So if you live in a land where the plants grow all year around your culture develops differently to one where for 4 months of the year everything is frozen and if you don’t develop food storage technology then basically you, your family and your neighbours all die.

So yeah. Enjoyed his arguments.

Then I got his next book about the end of the world and… yeah… You had a book deal to fill, didn’t you Jared.

John Tillman
Reply to  Craig from Oz
July 16, 2021 4:14 am

The potter’s wheel is useful without draft animals. Aztec toys had wheels.

MarkW
Reply to  John Tillman
July 16, 2021 7:36 am

There isn’t a lot of flat land where the Aztecs lived, and the parts that were flat were jungle where plants would grow back and cover any road you did build in a matter of months.
In the mountains, the roads were barely wide enough for a person, much less an animal pulling a cart.

John Tillman
Reply to  MarkW
July 16, 2021 9:27 am

True. Incas had better roads and llamas to pull carts, but the terrain still wasn’t ideal for wheeled transport. Better to use llamas as pack animals.

Both Mesoamericans and Andeans were entering the Bronze Age in AD 1500.

Last edited 14 days ago by John Tillman
Walter Sobchak
July 15, 2021 6:22 pm

British Anthropologist, Benny Peiser, who runs the climate skeptic group Global Warming Policy Foundation, wrote about Easter Island 16 years ago in:

“From Genocide to Ecocide: The Rape of Rapa Nui” | July 2005 Energy & Environment 16(3):513-539

Abstract:

The ‘decline and fall’ of Easter Island and its alleged self-destruction has become the poster child of a new environmentalist historiography, a school of thought that goes hand-in-hand with predictions of environmental disaster.

Why did this exceptional civilisation crumble? What drove its population to extinction?

These are some of the key questions Jared Diamond endeavours to answer in his new book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive. According to Diamond, the people of Easter Island destroyed their forest, degraded the island’s topsoil, wiped out their plants and drove their animals to extinction. As a result of this selfinflicted environmental devastation, its complex society collapsed, descending into civil war, cannibalism and self-destruction.

While his theory of ecocide has become almost paradigmatic in environmental circles, a dark and gory secret hangs over the premise of Easter Island’s self-destruction: an actual genocide terminated Rapa Nui’s indigenous populace and its culture.

Diamond, however, ignores and fails to address the true reasons behind Rapa Nui’s collapse. Why has he turned the victims of cultural and physical extermination into the perpetrators of their own demise?

This paper is a first attempt to address this disquieting quandary. It describes the foundation of Diamond’s environmental revisionism and explains why it does not hold up to scientific scrutiny.

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